Should I purchase a whole house generator?

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linuxizer
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by linuxizer »

I have not personally used a parallel setup but have seen it recommended plenty. They're not highly reliable devices and price scales almost linearly with wattage in some cases. So the logic is buy two smaller units, run them in parallel, and you have a redundant setup where you can limp along if necessary. This is conditional on minimum wattage being enough to run your devices. So if a 2k is enough to run fridge and a few lights, but you also want more devices in a typical outage then parallel could do that. Flip side is more of a pain, more cost (the champion dual fuel 3400w is only a little more than the 2000w), twice as many oil changes, etc.

Probably better off with a primary gen and then a cheap backup.

Eagerly await your battery guide. A big part of our plan is having some batteries (E.g. Everything from charged up AAs to an inverter for the 18v and 60v power tool batteries to a UPS for the wifi) to run laptops, flashlights, etc. so we only have to run the generator for a few hours to get everything charged back up and the freezer full of cold air again. Having whole house or larger options would be more convenient.
musicjay
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by musicjay »

I am having a Generac 10kw standby generator installed which will power essential circuits. I am concerned about snow accumlation on and around the generator as well. I am no longer in shape to go out there to keep it clear of snow. I have an awning company coming out next week to quote me on some type of covering ( alum. ) as well as a contractor to build me some type of lean to structure. I am told by Generac the sides need to be open and there needs to be 4 feet of clearance from the top of the generator to the roof. While this structure not totally solve the problem of blowing snow, as the generator is in somewhat of a protected area of the house, it should help out.......I hope. Waiting for prices.....hope they are not crazy numbers.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by ResearchMed »

musicjay wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:42 pm I am having a Generac 10kw standby generator installed which will power essential circuits. I am concerned about snow accumlation on and around the generator as well. I am no longer in shape to go out there to keep it clear of snow. I have an awning company coming out next week to quote me on some type of covering ( alum. ) as well as a contractor to build me some type of lean to structure. I am told by Generac the sides need to be open and there needs to be 4 feet of clearance from the top of the generator to the roof. While this structure not totally solve the problem of blowing snow, as the generator is in somewhat of a protected area of the house, it should help out.......I hope. Waiting for prices.....hope they are not crazy numbers.
An awning is a good idea in general. Thanks for the idea.

We'd need something *very* strong, however. We have a steep, peaked roof, and especially with a wet snow, that can come flying down with quite a thud.
It doesn't come close to damaging the generator, but it does bury it. When wet snow, landing with quite a THUD, it's not anything close to "breathable", in terms of ventilation.

So far, we've been okay/lucky having our "snowplow guy" clear it each time he's here, and not having the times it isn't cleared be times that the generator starts to run... but we are just gambling a bit with the timing, and that's not good.

OTOH, compared with when we first moved in almost 20 years ago, when there was lots of very deep and heavy snow, we just haven't had that much for quite a few years now. Indeed, we've "joked" with our "guy" (also our landscaper) that some winters he doesn't have much to do. That's better for us than for him, of course.

I'm going to see what the local generator servicing company suggests, if anything, and I'll report back. Would appreciate any suggestions you care to share, too.
Otherwise, I was thinking of a large/heavy plywood board, connected to posts, sloped downward from where it starts at the wall. No idea if it would hold up to ultra heavy snow falling... (Or who could build it, but I just thought of someone who could probably give it a try...)

Funny timing. At about midnight, we abruptly lost power last night. It was totally clear, not even windy.
We soon got a text from our energy company, announcing there "would be" (!?) a service interruption "for maintenance", lasting until 7am. Either it wasn't "maintenance" or it was planned in advance, at least a short time, we are thinking.
:annoyed
[Is that unfair to the energy company? Can "maintenance" be emergency with zero warning? Obviously there was no tree down, etc. Some of the trucks were right in front of our house. We were among the 2-3 dozen homes affected all of a sudden.]

Anyway, it was like a reminder: "Don't wait until a blizzard or hurricane to look into this!"

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.
musicjay
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by musicjay »

We have very similar situation with the roof, etc. I expect the new generator will be installed in 4-5 weeks....I will try to remember to share my info with you. I am getting quotes on the " shelter" this week. Your plywood idea is interesting, but I am not sure if I could even handle a 4x8 sheet at this point in my life. It would also have to be removed for service.
musicjay
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by musicjay »

I also looked into Gazebos to cover cooking grilles. They measure about 5'x8".....will not work for me....maybe a solution for you?
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

linuxizer wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:07 pmEagerly await your battery guide. A big part of our plan is having some batteries (E.g. Everything from charged up AAs to an inverter for the 18v and 60v power tool batteries to a UPS for the wifi) to run laptops, flashlights, etc. so we only have to run the generator for a few hours to get everything charged back up and the freezer full of cold air again. Having whole house or larger options would be more convenient.
Thanks for the gentle reminder. This week has been ridiculously busy with work for me, but I should be able to post that battery guide thread soon. A small battery backup system is very capable of running everything you mentioned.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
go_mets
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by go_mets »

I am planning on buying a 2000W pure-sine-wave inverter to connect to the car battery.
Cost is about $250-$300.
It should be enough to run the electrical gadget (120V 3.1 FLA) --- not sure what is it--- that sits on top of my gas water heater.
It definitely will be enough to run a 21" TV and the cable +internet boxes.

I am thinking about buying the 1000W Jackery Explorer 1000 which sells for $1000.
It had been on sale back on Memorial Day for $800. :(
It can be charged using 100W solar panels.
It has lithium battery.

Thinking about one of those 12V camping refrigerator with a compressor.
The no-name brand starts about $275 for 40L size.
neilpilot
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by neilpilot »

go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:31 pm I am planning on buying a 2000W pure-sine-wave inverter to connect to the car battery.
Cost is about $250-$300.
It should be enough to run the electrical gadget (120V 3.1 FLA) --- not sure what is it--- that sits on top of my gas water heater.
It definitely will be enough to run a 21" TV and the cable +internet boxes.

I am thinking about buying the 1000W Jackery Explorer 1000 which sells for $1000.
It had been on sale back on Memorial Day for $800. :(
It can be charged using 100W solar panels.
It has lithium battery.

Thinking about one of those 12V camping refrigerator with a compressor.
The no-name brand starts about $275 for 40L size.
So your thinking about spending $1300+ for these 3 items? Your home refrigerator likely draws only about 5amps, though it may peak at 12-15 max. Unless you have another use for that 12v fridge, I’d think you’d be further ahead planning to run your current fridge part or even full time.

As I posted above I strongly favor a 2-4kw portable generator over your first 2 items. I don’t want to plan to run my car as a generator or rely on a solar backup. To each their own.
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

neilpilot wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:52 pm
go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:31 pm I am planning on buying a 2000W pure-sine-wave inverter to connect to the car battery.
Cost is about $250-$300.
It should be enough to run the electrical gadget (120V 3.1 FLA) --- not sure what is it--- that sits on top of my gas water heater.
It definitely will be enough to run a 21" TV and the cable +internet boxes.

I am thinking about buying the 1000W Jackery Explorer 1000 which sells for $1000.
It had been on sale back on Memorial Day for $800. :(
It can be charged using 100W solar panels.
It has lithium battery.

Thinking about one of those 12V camping refrigerator with a compressor.
The no-name brand starts about $275 for 40L size.
So your thinking about spending $1300+ for these 3 items? Your home refrigerator likely draws only about 5amps, though it may peak at 12-15 max. Unless you have another use for that 12v fridge, I’d think you’d be further ahead planning to run your current fridge part or even full time.

As I posted above I strongly favor a 2-4kw portable generator over your first 2 items. I don’t want to plan to run my car as a generator or rely on a solar backup. To each their own.
Agreed - we were just out last week for 5 days in NY and without the small genset we would not have had refrigerator, hot water, lights, and charging for all devices. About 90 hours run time on about 13 gallons of gasoline over 5 days.
If we had the above the solar would have been mostly inefective due to the amount of available power and the batts would be down within a day.
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

smitcat wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:10 pm
neilpilot wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:52 pm
go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:31 pm I am planning on buying a 2000W pure-sine-wave inverter to connect to the car battery.
Cost is about $250-$300.
It should be enough to run the electrical gadget (120V 3.1 FLA) --- not sure what is it--- that sits on top of my gas water heater.
It definitely will be enough to run a 21" TV and the cable +internet boxes.

I am thinking about buying the 1000W Jackery Explorer 1000 which sells for $1000.
It had been on sale back on Memorial Day for $800. :(
It can be charged using 100W solar panels.
It has lithium battery.

Thinking about one of those 12V camping refrigerator with a compressor.
The no-name brand starts about $275 for 40L size.
So your thinking about spending $1300+ for these 3 items? Your home refrigerator likely draws only about 5amps, though it may peak at 12-15 max. Unless you have another use for that 12v fridge, I’d think you’d be further ahead planning to run your current fridge part or even full time.

As I posted above I strongly favor a 2-4kw portable generator over your first 2 items. I don’t want to plan to run my car as a generator or rely on a solar backup. To each their own.
Agreed - we were just out last week for 5 days in NY and without the small genset we would not have had refrigerator, hot water, lights, and charging for all devices. About 90 hours run time on about 13 gallons of gasoline over 5 days.
If we had the above the solar would have been mostly inefective due to the amount of available power and the batts would be down within a day.
Yep. Relying completely on solar and battery systems is not a robust strategy. The panels don't output much when it's cloudy, which Murphy mandates will be the case when you lose grid power. And unless you have a Tesla Powerwall or some other large battery system, it's not going to last very long on its own. It's surprising, but a car-sized, deep cycle lead acid battery only has about the same amount of potential power as one quart of gasoline run through a generator. That said, they are best used in conjunction with each other, much like a hybrid vehicle.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
go_mets
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by go_mets »

If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.


.
neilpilot
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by neilpilot »

go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.


.
I strain under the maintenance of changing the oil every 2 years and keeping gasoline on hand.
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.
You don't necessarily need a generator or solar panels to have backup power. A relatively small pure sine wave inverter that can be connected to the battery of your vehicle can provide you with enough power to operate a modern refrigerator, freezer, or other small appliances. Such an inverter requires no maintenance whatsoever. You might not need backup power to survive, but it can definitely be a boon when the lights go out.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
Chuck107
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by Chuck107 »

.....
Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
go_mets
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by go_mets »

willthrill81 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:16 pm
go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.
You don't necessarily need a generator or solar panels to have backup power. A relatively small pure sine wave inverter that can be connected to the battery of your vehicle can provide you with enough power to operate a modern refrigerator, freezer, or other small appliances. Such an inverter requires no maintenance whatsoever. You might not need backup power to survive, but it can definitely be a boon when the lights go out.
I wrote that I planned on buying a pure-sine-wave inverter, but neilpilot belittled that idea.
go_mets
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by go_mets »

Chuck107 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:38 pm
neilpilot wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:27 pm
go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.


.
I strain under the maintenance of changing the oil every 2 years and keeping gasoline on hand.
I agree, after 9 yrs in storage I changed the oil on my 3500w gen, and hooked up my 20 lb cyl of propane sitting outside for just as long, good for 2 days.
Phew. I didn't think I could do it.
That's not the recommended maintenance from what I have read.
http://blog.hondalawnparts.com/honda-eu ... nce-guide/
Heck, if I was to be that cavalier about something needed for an emergency, why not?

I also don't change oil on my own car. Good for you that you can.

.
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:36 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:16 pm
go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.
You don't necessarily need a generator or solar panels to have backup power. A relatively small pure sine wave inverter that can be connected to the battery of your vehicle can provide you with enough power to operate a modern refrigerator, freezer, or other small appliances. Such an inverter requires no maintenance whatsoever. You might not need backup power to survive, but it can definitely be a boon when the lights go out.
I wrote that I planned on buying a pure-sine-wave inverter, but neilpilot belittled that idea.
It's totally fine. Guess what? An inverter generator is called that because it produces DC power and uses an internal inverter to convert it to 120 volt AC power like your house uses. You're just using your vehicle to produce the DC power rather than a generator. Yes, this is definitely less fuel efficient than running an inverter generator, but that doesn't matter. The point is that it works, and it's reliable. You can get a 1kW pure sine wave inverter with good ratings for about $160 now. Note that surges up to 1kW from an inverter connected to your vehicle are fine, but the alternator on your vehicle won't output more than about 400 watts continuously, so if you pull more than that from the inverter, the difference will come out of the vehicle's battery. So in general, you need to keep your power draw under 400 watts when your vehicle is idling and much lower when it isn't.

The method for keeping something like a refrigerator going with an inverter is to connect it to your vehicle's battery, plug in your refrigerator via an extension cord, and idle your vehicle for about 30 minutes for every hour that the inverter is running the refrigerator. Turn your refrigerator's thermostat down to the coldest setting. Once the refrigerator's compressor stops running, the refrigerator is adequately cold and doesn't need to be plugged back in for at least 4-6 hours unless the ambient temperature is hot, at least 90F. Ideally, if you're using this approach, you will also invest in a small remote thermometer that you can stick inside the refrigerator and read the temperature from without opening the door. When the temperature inside reaches about 42F, it's time to plug it back in to the inverter. To extend the time between plug-ins, don't open the refrigerator at all, and throw blankets, quilts, sleeping bags, etc. over it as added insulation.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
neilpilot
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by neilpilot »

go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:36 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:16 pm
go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.
You don't necessarily need a generator or solar panels to have backup power. A relatively small pure sine wave inverter that can be connected to the battery of your vehicle can provide you with enough power to operate a modern refrigerator, freezer, or other small appliances. Such an inverter requires no maintenance whatsoever. You might not need backup power to survive, but it can definitely be a boon when the lights go out.
I wrote that I planned on buying a pure-sine-wave inverter, but neilpilot belittled that idea.
Not really. Reread what I posted.

I did belittle you’re suggestion that a portable generator would require an inordinate amount of maintenance. I also questioned buying a small 12v fridge after purchasing 2 different backup power sources that in theory could each keep a 120v refrigerator/freezer cold.

But I didn’t belittle buying an inverter. I simply said that I preferred a portable generator over an inverter.
softwaregeek
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by softwaregeek »

For those with solar you can get a power wall from Tesla and that allows you to run from the solar panels and charge the battery during the day and use the battery at night. With peak shaving, federal and state subsidies my calculations were it was possible to almost break even over a long term. 13k installed, 4.5k after federal and state subsidies, and a fEw hundred bucks a year Saving load shifting away from peak power prices.
Chuck107
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by Chuck107 »

.....
Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
A440
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by A440 »

FWIW, regardless of what type of power source one uses, pulling our refrigerator out of its "nook" in our kitchen is a PITA. It is a tight fit between the cabinet panels and needs to be fully pulled out to access the plug. Additionally, it also has a water line for the ice maker and water dispenser that is susceptible to breaking or coming loose. Then, once power is restored, it is equally challenging to get it put back in place without the line breaking.
It is because of this challenge that we purchased a simple 4-circuit manual transfer switch. It wasn't very expensive, nor was the fee charged by a licensed electrician to install. It has been an unusual summer, but we have now used it three times since May. $1000 all in for 2k inverter generator/mts and install, money well spent and I don't keep my neighbors awake at night when I switch the generator to econ mode (12 hour run time on 1 gallon of gas).
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

willthrill81 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:16 pm
go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.
You don't necessarily need a generator or solar panels to have backup power. A relatively small pure sine wave inverter that can be connected to the battery of your vehicle can provide you with enough power to operate a modern refrigerator, freezer, or other small appliances. Such an inverter requires no maintenance whatsoever. You might not need backup power to survive, but it can definitely be a boon when the lights go out.
Well I kinda agree but it is not so easy with batteries either. We had four 8-D batteries on the house bank of our boat and even in great condition they just did not last as long as most folks would think. And on the maintenance side battery connections and battery condition do need attention and can also get pricey over the years.
FWIW - my current pickup has a built in 400 watt inverter and 2 large batteries but it will not power devices for very long and running a large car/truck engine for long times next to a home is fraught with all kinds of potential problems.
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.


.
We survived Sandy as well our power was out for most of 11 days at home and more than 7 at one of our places of work. But we did not just survive the storm we did fairly well at that time of year with full heat and hot water being powered by the small portable genset. It took care of the refrigerator along with lights and powering all of the small devices as we were able to also have neighbors over that needed some time in a heated home and/or hot water.
We also used one of the portable gensets to go to our places of work and review and mitigate work needed to reopen the locations after power came back on. And at other times these portables did these tasks:
- tailgate at pro games
- remote work on a boat/RV/property/etc
- use at local fairs and events
- use for DD or DS sporting events and affairs
hudson
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Figuring Generator Loads

Post by hudson »

lazydavid wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:42 am Mine goes into my breaker box, where it terminates on a 240V/30A breaker that has an interlock with the main breaker. When the power goes out, I start the generator, attach it to the inlet, turn off breakers for stuff I know I don't need, turn off the main breaker, slide the interlock out of the way, and turn on the generator breaker. The house lights up and I'm good to go.
I'm looking at getting quotes to have a system like above installed.

Now I'm working on the possible generator loads. I think that I want to run the following
Refrigerator # one full load 6.5 amps
Refrigerator # two max amps 5.3
Freezer 7 Cu Ft...estimate 5 amps
Overhead Lights...all LED...8-10 fixtures
Cable Modem
Google Wifi system 3 nodes
Chargers for 4 ipads and 4 iphones
3 Laptops

(I didn't include a TrippLite 1000VA UPS because it said 12 amps. I've read that UPSs have problems with generator power some times.)

Yamaha's generator load calculator (https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/generator/sizing) says this:

You need a generator with the following capabilities:
Recommended wattage: 2231
Maximum wattage: 6771

Recommended models:

EF7200DE/D https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/gener ... ef7200de-d
7,200 watts/- 60 maximum amps @ 120V and 30 maximum amps @ 240V.

Comments if possible and appropriate...many thanks!
Blackbird79
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by Blackbird79 »

go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:37 pm
Chuck107 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:38 pm
neilpilot wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:27 pm
go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.


.
I strain under the maintenance of changing the oil every 2 years and keeping gasoline on hand.
I agree, after 9 yrs in storage I changed the oil on my 3500w gen, and hooked up my 20 lb cyl of propane sitting outside for just as long, good for 2 days.
Phew. I didn't think I could do it.
That's not the recommended maintenance from what I have read.
http://blog.hondalawnparts.com/honda-eu ... nce-guide/
Heck, if I was to be that cavalier about something needed for an emergency, why not?

I also don't change oil on my own car. Good for you that you can.

.
That’s the beauty of a dual fuel generator. Can start it every once in awhile with propane, no need to worry about stale gas, etc.
smitcat
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Re: Figuring Generator Loads

Post by smitcat »

hudson wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:31 am
lazydavid wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:42 am Mine goes into my breaker box, where it terminates on a 240V/30A breaker that has an interlock with the main breaker. When the power goes out, I start the generator, attach it to the inlet, turn off breakers for stuff I know I don't need, turn off the main breaker, slide the interlock out of the way, and turn on the generator breaker. The house lights up and I'm good to go.
I'm looking at getting quotes to have a system like above installed.

Now I'm working on the possible generator loads. I think that I want to run the following
Refrigerator # one full load 6.5 amps
Refrigerator # two max amps 5.3
Freezer 7 Cu Ft...estimate 5 amps
Overhead Lights...all LED...8-10 fixtures
Cable Modem
Google Wifi system 3 nodes
Chargers for 4 ipads and 4 iphones
3 Laptops

(I didn't include a TrippLite 1000VA UPS because it said 12 amps. I've read that UPSs have problems with generator power some times.)

Yamaha's generator load calculator (https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/generator/sizing) says this:

You need a generator with the following capabilities:
Recommended wattage: 2231
Maximum wattage: 6771

Recommended models:

EF7200DE/D https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/gener ... ef7200de-d
7,200 watts/- 60 maximum amps @ 120V and 30 maximum amps @ 240V.

Comments if possible and appropriate...many thanks!

"Comments if possible and appropriate...many thanks!"
I would first consider your required loads again in an emergency - can you consolidate two refrigerators into one and/or the freezer during times of emergency power. LED lights are great - will you have a power need for heat or hot water? Will you need to power up anything at random times - auto garage doors come to mind.
hudson
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

smitcat,
Yes, I could consolidate 2 refrigerators into one...didn't think about that.
No garage door opener...no heat or hot water needed.
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:21 am
willthrill81 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:16 pm
go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.
You don't necessarily need a generator or solar panels to have backup power. A relatively small pure sine wave inverter that can be connected to the battery of your vehicle can provide you with enough power to operate a modern refrigerator, freezer, or other small appliances. Such an inverter requires no maintenance whatsoever. You might not need backup power to survive, but it can definitely be a boon when the lights go out.
Well I kinda agree but it is not so easy with batteries either. We had four 8-D batteries on the house bank of our boat and even in great condition they just did not last as long as most folks would think. And on the maintenance side battery connections and battery condition do need attention and can also get pricey over the years.
FWIW - my current pickup has a built in 400 watt inverter and 2 large batteries but it will not power devices for very long and running a large car/truck engine for long times next to a home is fraught with all kinds of potential problems.
Keep in mind that lead acid batteries only used very occasionally, such as for power outages, will last much longer than those used frequently. I've got an Energizer group 27 marine battery that's been left on a Battery Minder #1500 (a very intelligent charger) continuously for seven years now, and when I tested it a couple of years ago, it still had its rated amp hour capacity. The charger is so good that it doesn't overcharge the batteries at all like many will; this has resulted in me barely needing to ever add distilled water to any of the cells. Over the last two year, I only had to add maybe 2 fl. oz. of distilled water once to one of the cells. The whole setup is in our unheated, un-insulated garage, but the charger has a temperature sensor and adjusts the float voltage accordingly; I've seen it range from barely 13 volts in the summer to 13.7 volts in the winter. Consequently, I'm sure that I'll get at least ten years out of that battery before I trade it in for a new one, though I might get a pair of GC2 batteries due to their relative capacity and ruggedness.
Last edited by willthrill81 on Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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willthrill81
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Re: Figuring Generator Loads

Post by willthrill81 »

hudson wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:31 am
lazydavid wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:42 am Mine goes into my breaker box, where it terminates on a 240V/30A breaker that has an interlock with the main breaker. When the power goes out, I start the generator, attach it to the inlet, turn off breakers for stuff I know I don't need, turn off the main breaker, slide the interlock out of the way, and turn on the generator breaker. The house lights up and I'm good to go.
I'm looking at getting quotes to have a system like above installed.

Now I'm working on the possible generator loads. I think that I want to run the following
Refrigerator # one full load 6.5 amps
Refrigerator # two max amps 5.3
Freezer 7 Cu Ft...estimate 5 amps
Overhead Lights...all LED...8-10 fixtures
Cable Modem
Google Wifi system 3 nodes
Chargers for 4 ipads and 4 iphones
3 Laptops

(I didn't include a TrippLite 1000VA UPS because it said 12 amps. I've read that UPSs have problems with generator power some times.)

Yamaha's generator load calculator (https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/generator/sizing) says this:

You need a generator with the following capabilities:
Recommended wattage: 2231
Maximum wattage: 6771

Recommended models:

EF7200DE/D https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/gener ... ef7200de-d
7,200 watts/- 60 maximum amps @ 120V and 30 maximum amps @ 240V.

Comments if possible and appropriate...many thanks!
Modern refrigerators won't draw nearly that much power continuously, generally only 1-2 amps. The same goes for the freezer. The modem and WiFi probably won't draw more than 100 watts total, probably much less. A house full of LED lights is unlikely to draw more than 200 watts. USB chargers are generally no more than about 12 watts per outlet (5.1 volts x 2,000 milliamps). Laptops vary, but ours draws a peak of 45 watts. Gaming laptops and such can draw 100-150 watts.

You could run all of those items at the same time (keep in mind that the compressors in the refrigerators and freezers will not all start at the exact same time) from a 2,000 watt inverter generator, which there are many of on the market. Keep in mind that those selling generators will tell you that you need a bigger generator than you really need because they want to sell you a bigger generator.

Your UPS won't have any problems with power coming from an inverter generator. A good one will provide cleaner power than what the grid provides in many areas.

If you really wanted plenty of margin of safety, an inverter generator in the 2,800 - 3,400 watt range would certainly provide that. I would urge you to look carefully at Champion's 3,400 dual fuel (gas and propane) inverter generator, which can be bought for around $1k. Keep in mind that all generators in this range will only output 120 volts, but that's what all of the items you listed consume anyway. You could power them with extension cords (not really a problem and by far the cheapest solution) or with a transfer switch; an interlock may or may not be legal in your area.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

A440 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:07 am FWIW, regardless of what type of power source one uses, pulling our refrigerator out of its "nook" in our kitchen is a PITA. It is a tight fit between the cabinet panels and needs to be fully pulled out to access the plug. Additionally, it also has a water line for the ice maker and water dispenser that is susceptible to breaking or coming loose. Then, once power is restored, it is equally challenging to get it put back in place without the line breaking.
It is because of this challenge that we purchased a simple 4-circuit manual transfer switch. It wasn't very expensive, nor was the fee charged by a licensed electrician to install. It has been an unusual summer, but we have now used it three times since May. $1000 all in for 2k inverter generator/mts and install, money well spent and I don't keep my neighbors awake at night when I switch the generator to econ mode (12 hour run time on 1 gallon of gas).
Good for you. It's true that it can be a pain to pull refrigerators out enough to get access to the power cord. The same goes for other appliances too. If money isn't an issue, a transfer switch really is the best to get power from your generator to your house. Depending on how the house and transfer switch are wired, it might still be necessary to run extension cords from outlets which have power to items that don't. This isn't usually necessary with a generator that's providing 240 volt power as it can power both the sides of your breaker box, whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:11 am
smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:21 am
willthrill81 wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:16 pm
go_mets wrote: Sat Aug 15, 2020 3:21 pm If I can survive Sandy without any preparation, I think I can survive with additional mitigation.
Not interested in the maintenance required for portable generator.
You don't necessarily need a generator or solar panels to have backup power. A relatively small pure sine wave inverter that can be connected to the battery of your vehicle can provide you with enough power to operate a modern refrigerator, freezer, or other small appliances. Such an inverter requires no maintenance whatsoever. You might not need backup power to survive, but it can definitely be a boon when the lights go out.
Well I kinda agree but it is not so easy with batteries either. We had four 8-D batteries on the house bank of our boat and even in great condition they just did not last as long as most folks would think. And on the maintenance side battery connections and battery condition do need attention and can also get pricey over the years.
FWIW - my current pickup has a built in 400 watt inverter and 2 large batteries but it will not power devices for very long and running a large car/truck engine for long times next to a home is fraught with all kinds of potential problems.
Keep in mind that lead acid batteries only used very occasionally, such as for power outages, will last much longer than those used frequently. I've got an Energizer group 27 marine battery that's been left on a Battery Minder #1500 (a very intelligent charger) continuously for seven years now, and when I tested it a couple of years ago, it still had its rated amp hour capacity. The charger is so good that it doesn't overcharge the batteries at all like many will; this has resulted in me barely needing to ever add distilled water to any of the cells. Over the last two year, I only had to add maybe 2 fl. oz. of distilled water once to one of the cells. The whole setup is in our unheated, un-insulated garage, but the charger has a temperature sensor and adjusts the float voltage accordingly; I've seen it range from barely 13 volts in the summer to 13.7 volts in the winter. Consequently, I'm sure that I'll get at least ten years out of that battery before I trade it in for a new one, though I might get a pair of GC2 batteries due to their relative capacity and ruggedness.
I do get all of that i just think that most people may look at a few specs and believe that batteries can be a solution to some potential problems where they have very significant downsides.
We have very smart chargers on many batteries and they do degrade more than one would think - the only real full test is when they are loaded for a while and then go thru a recharge and equalization cycle.
Since we have used battery banks that have much larger amp capacity has become apparent what the limits are for batteries alone as well as what a solar source might add.
If he truly can get by on a battery alone in an emergency that is fine but our experiences would not support that conclusion.
Perhaps is the 'emergency' is defined as a shorter event with specifically low needs it will work.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

Thanks willthrill81,

I thought both devices were the same thing. I think that I want a transfer switch...and a generator that will run both sides of the panel....a 240 Volt Generator....that would be one with 4 conductors...I think.
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

hudson wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:50 am Thanks willthrill81,

I thought both devices were the same thing. I think that I want a transfer switch...and a generator that will run both sides of the panel....a 240 Volt Generator....that would be one with 4 conductors...I think.
"I thought both devices were the same thing. I think that I want a transfer switch...and a generator that will run both sides of the panel....a 240 Volt Generator....that would be one with 4 conductors...I think."
I do not see anything that woudl be near requiring 220 volts - do you have something that requires that?
Any AC, cooking units, heating coils?
If not you can easily get along with exactly what willtrill81 is suggesting at a much lower costs for initial hardware, install, and ongoing operating costs.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:29 am
A440 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:07 am FWIW, regardless of what type of power source one uses, pulling our refrigerator out of its "nook" in our kitchen is a PITA. It is a tight fit between the cabinet panels and needs to be fully pulled out to access the plug. Additionally, it also has a water line for the ice maker and water dispenser that is susceptible to breaking or coming loose. Then, once power is restored, it is equally challenging to get it put back in place without the line breaking.
It is because of this challenge that we purchased a simple 4-circuit manual transfer switch. It wasn't very expensive, nor was the fee charged by a licensed electrician to install. It has been an unusual summer, but we have now used it three times since May. $1000 all in for 2k inverter generator/mts and install, money well spent and I don't keep my neighbors awake at night when I switch the generator to econ mode (12 hour run time on 1 gallon of gas).
Good for you. It's true that it can be a pain to pull refrigerators out enough to get access to the power cord. The same goes for other appliances too. If money isn't an issue, a transfer switch really is the best to get power from your generator to your house. Depending on how the house and transfer switch are wired, it might still be necessary to run extension cords from outlets which have power to items that don't. This isn't usually necessary with a generator that's providing 240 volt power as it can power both the sides of your breaker box, whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side.
"whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side."
Many transfer switches which work with subpanels will allow one to mix energized circuits from either side of the panel.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

smitcat,

That works for me. If I could get a transfer switch that did the whole panel, I could go with the 120 volt generator.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by finite_difference »

miamivice wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:23 pm We love power at our house around 5 times per year. It's annoying. If it happens in the early morning, I oversleep and don't get to work on time. Sometimes the power is out for 12 hours and then things start to go bad in the fridges. We're not sure why power is not more reliable (we are in a suburban community with all underground power) but it's life. Sometimes power goes out for days if we have a storm.
Have you politely but persistently complained to your county/local government? If it’s storm related I could understand. But if nobody complains then nothing changes.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

hudson wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 11:10 am smitcat,

That works for me. If I could get a transfer switch that did the whole panel, I could go with the 120 volt generator.
A manual transfer switch will not do the entire panel.
Most manual transfer switches 'extend' specifcally assigned circuits outside the panel to a sub panel and allow the owner to 'select' the source - either
(1)from the power grid or (2) from the generator.
If you have a situation where you can select say four or six (sometimes more) 120 volt circuits that will serve you in and emergency then they will have the alterate power option during a power outage.
In your case it appears that you may have 2 cicuits for refrigeration, a couple of rooms or so for lights and devices - maybe two or 3 more.
That is what you would want an installer to plan for with your proposed emeregency system.
As willthrill81 carefully said - unless you need 220 volts or a bunch of amperage the need for a larger genset with its associated costs for hardware, install , maintenance and fuel you woudl be best not purchasing it. Those larger fixed speed generators consume larger amounts of fuel whether you need the power or not. Those are the reasons to take your time planning what you need/want and then choose wisely on your best solution.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by pshonore »

smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:01 pm
hudson wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 11:10 am smitcat,

That works for me. If I could get a transfer switch that did the whole panel, I could go with the 120 volt generator.
A manual transfer switch will not do the entire panel.
Most manual transfer switches 'extend' specifcally assigned circuits outside the panel to a sub panel and allow the owner to 'select' the source - either
(1)from the power grid or (2) from the generator.
If you have a situation where you can select say four or six (sometimes more) 120 volt circuits that will serve you in and emergency then they will have the alterate power option during a power outage.
In your case it appears that you may have 2 cicuits for refrigeration, a couple of rooms or so for lights and devices - maybe two or 3 more.
That is what you would want an installer to plan for with your proposed emeregency system.
As willthrill81 carefully said - unless you need 220 volts or a bunch of amperage the need for a larger genset with its associated costs for hardware, install , maintenance and fuel you woudl be best not purchasing it. Those larger fixed speed generators consume larger amounts of fuel whether you need the power or not. Those are the reasons to take your time planning what you need/want and then choose wisely on your best solution.
I have a 10 circuit transfer switch installed about 15 years ago (cost including installation about $500) Two of the circuits are ganged together to supply 220V (supplied by my generator) to my well pump. The rest are 110V; one goes to my oil burner and circulator pump for Heat and HW, one goes to the circuit that controls my refrigerator, one for the microwave and the remaining five go to circuits for lighting in the rest of the house. No stove, no dishwasher, no dryer, no central air although I probably could have wired in the Mitsubishi Mr Slim if desired (a 110V). My generator produce a max of 6500 watts and is noisy, but did a good job for three days last week in CT where I think the majority of residents lost power and a large number were out for 6 days.
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

pshonore wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:43 pm
smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:01 pm
hudson wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 11:10 am smitcat,

That works for me. If I could get a transfer switch that did the whole panel, I could go with the 120 volt generator.
A manual transfer switch will not do the entire panel.
Most manual transfer switches 'extend' specifcally assigned circuits outside the panel to a sub panel and allow the owner to 'select' the source - either
(1)from the power grid or (2) from the generator.
If you have a situation where you can select say four or six (sometimes more) 120 volt circuits that will serve you in and emergency then they will have the alterate power option during a power outage.
In your case it appears that you may have 2 cicuits for refrigeration, a couple of rooms or so for lights and devices - maybe two or 3 more.
That is what you would want an installer to plan for with your proposed emeregency system.
As willthrill81 carefully said - unless you need 220 volts or a bunch of amperage the need for a larger genset with its associated costs for hardware, install , maintenance and fuel you woudl be best not purchasing it. Those larger fixed speed generators consume larger amounts of fuel whether you need the power or not. Those are the reasons to take your time planning what you need/want and then choose wisely on your best solution.
I have a 10 circuit transfer switch installed about 15 years ago (cost including installation about $500) Two of the circuits are ganged together to supply 220V (supplied by my generator) to my well pump. The rest are 110V; one goes to my oil burner and circulator pump for Heat and HW, one goes to the circuit that controls my refrigerator, one for the microwave and the remaining five go to circuits for lighting in the rest of the house. No stove, no dishwasher, no dryer, no central air although I probably could have wired in the Mitsubishi Mr Slim if desired (a 110V). My generator produce a max of 6500 watts and is noisy, but did a good job for three days last week in CT where I think the majority of residents lost power and a large number were out for 6 days.
That is great - you require a 220 circuit and you have solved for that with the purchases.
If you did not need the 220 circuit it could have been easier and cheaper to supply the power.
Each application is different.
Dontridetheindexdown
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by Dontridetheindexdown »

You can certainly install a manual transfer switch for your entire home.

It is relatively cheap (a few hundred dollars if you file for a permit and do it yourself, less than $1000 professionally installed) for 200 amp service.

Here is a typical switch:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-200-Amp- ... /100150463

If you need a 400 amp switch, figure at least $2000 for the switch, plus installation.

A whole-house manual transfer switch is the safest, most efficient and convenient way to use an emergency source of power, whether a generator, a battery-powered inverter, or any other source of standby power.

It will allow you to power exactly the items you need, based on the power you have available.

It also means you can turn on a light when you use the bathroom, even if you only power your house with a small inverter!

For those who are interested, here is additional info on emergency power:

First, to all those who want a cheap, convenient way to charge their cell phones and other portable electronics: every motor vehicle includes a one kilowatt (1kw) alternator for battery charging.

Some vehicles are slightly less (a skinny kilowatt) others are quite a bit more (2kw) but all vehicles have a battery charging alternator.

The best way to charge portable electronics is to idle your vehicle and use 12 volt DC chargers.

To charge your cell phone, you do not even need to start your vehicle. Just plug the cell phone charger into your vehicle and let it charge.

To charge larger items, start your vehicle and let it idle.

To operate larger items which require 120 volt AC power, such as your computer UPS, a drip coffee maker, or a small microwave, use a 1200 watt (1.2kw) inverter - available everywhere for less than $100.

Most vehicles today will run a 1200 watt inverter indefinitely while idling, but you may need to turn on the air conditioner (which increases the engine idle) or turn up the idle speed (not legal - do not do this) to make sure the alternator is putting out full power.

Also, the family minivan (or coupe, pickup truck, or SUV) is the best survival pod ever invented - heat, air conditioning, lights, etc. You already own it, and the fuel to run it is negligible compared to buying, maintaining, and feeding a generator.

Even more important, you can drive the vehicle to a fuel point to refuel it, and charge the battery while driving to and from the fuel point.

If you need more power than your vehicle produces, then and only then, consider a generator.

We can discuss how to size a genset for home use, based on how many items you desire to run during a power outage, and how much fuel you are willing to store and consume.

You can use a portable generator, or install a standby generator.

Whatever you do, please follow all safety precautions with respect to electrical hazards, thermal hazards, and fume hazards.

If you use a portable generator, please use extension cords to power your loads - do not energize your home wiring unless you have installed an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed transfer switch!

I will discuss transfer switches later in this article.

If you choose to install a standby generator, and you live in an urban, or dense suburban area, a propane (bottle gas) or natural gas (city gas) powered system is the most popular and cost effective way to go. It is also the quietest.

Note well: City gas is often shut off during natural disasters. Propane is stored on your property, and can be stored indefinitely.

If you live in a rural area, you can go with a propane or a diesel unit, or if you have a tractor, a pto-driven genset.

For almost all tractor owners, I recommend a pto-driven genset. If you buy a Winco, Onan, or similar high-quality pto-driven genset, you can pass it on to your grandchildren. It will never wear out.

The beauty of a pto-driven genset is that many tractor owners are already adept at maintaining their tractors. Also, you can always find someone to repair a tractor, or, if you really need to, you can buy another tractor, new or used, almost any time.

It is extremely important to have a generator big enough to start and run your rotating loads, and to hold frequency and voltage as near constant as possible.

All rotating loads - well pump, pool pump, air conditioner/heat pump compressor and fan motor, refrigerator and freezer compressors and fan motors - require 60 hz alternating current (AC) to operate at the correct, constant speed, and require full voltage (120 or 240 depending on the motor) to operate at the correct current under load.

Incorrect voltage, and incorrect or varying frequency, can lead to failure of rotating equipment.

Let me put that more plainly - a badly regulated generator will burn up expensive motors!

Home electronics (tv, computer, etc.) are not as sensitive to voltage, and are relatively insensitive to frequency (they all have power supplies that convert AC to regulated DC) but they can be damaged by very low or high voltage.

Most important is your transfer switch.

After the transfer switch is installed, and inspected by your county building inspector, send a copy of the electrical inspection to your insurance agent - 2 reasons:

1. Liability - If anyone is ever injured or killed while working to restore power on your distribution grid, you will have proof that there is no way it was a backfeed from your generator.

2. Risk Reduction - If you ever have an electrical fire in your house, you will have proof that the transfer switch was properly installed and inspected.

My advice is to install a 200 amp (or whatever size your home electrical service is) manual transfer switch.

That way you will be able to use any lights, anywhere in your house, including in your basement, regardless of whether you power your house with a 5kw or a 50kw genset.

I do not recommend an automatic transfer switch for home use.

You want to determine that the power really is out, and will be out for more than a few minutes (or hours).

You want to start your genset and make sure it is running right - all engine gauges (oil pressure, battery voltage, coolant or cylinder temperature) and generator gauges (voltage, FREQUENCY, current) registering correctly, and then and only then transfer the load.

If the engine parameters are incorrect, you run the risk of destroying the engine. If the generator parameters are incorrect, you run the risk of destroying expensive items in your home.

Even if you never have a power outage, throw your transfer switch once a year to make sure it moves.

Also, open it once a year and blow out the insects. Leave a piece of no-pest strip or a livestock ear tag with pyrethrins in there to keep it insect free.

I recommend testing a home generator twice each month.

Just connect an electric stove or similar load to it, and run it under load for 30 minutes.

If you can start it and run it every 2 weeks, and it takes a full load, you can depend on it for a power outage when you transfer the house load using your manual transfer switch.

Takeaway - Generating your own power during an outage requires serious investment in time and money, and significant fuel and maintenance expenses.

We can discuss this stuff further if you like.

We have a 200 amp transfer switch to transfer our house between the electric grid and generator power, and a second 100 amp transfer switch to transfer between main generator and auxiliaries. Main generator is a 15kw 1800 rpm diesel. Auxiliaries are 25kw Winco pto unit (more power than either of our tractors can provide, but superior motor starting capability), 8.5kw 3600 rpm gasoline powered welder, 3.5kw 3600 rpm gasoline powered welder, 2kw 1800 rpm continuous rated gasoline powered genset (perfect for overnight refrigeration and entertainment loads, if we don't need heat or air conditioning).
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 11:06 am
willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:29 am
A440 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:07 am FWIW, regardless of what type of power source one uses, pulling our refrigerator out of its "nook" in our kitchen is a PITA. It is a tight fit between the cabinet panels and needs to be fully pulled out to access the plug. Additionally, it also has a water line for the ice maker and water dispenser that is susceptible to breaking or coming loose. Then, once power is restored, it is equally challenging to get it put back in place without the line breaking.
It is because of this challenge that we purchased a simple 4-circuit manual transfer switch. It wasn't very expensive, nor was the fee charged by a licensed electrician to install. It has been an unusual summer, but we have now used it three times since May. $1000 all in for 2k inverter generator/mts and install, money well spent and I don't keep my neighbors awake at night when I switch the generator to econ mode (12 hour run time on 1 gallon of gas).
Good for you. It's true that it can be a pain to pull refrigerators out enough to get access to the power cord. The same goes for other appliances too. If money isn't an issue, a transfer switch really is the best to get power from your generator to your house. Depending on how the house and transfer switch are wired, it might still be necessary to run extension cords from outlets which have power to items that don't. This isn't usually necessary with a generator that's providing 240 volt power as it can power both the sides of your breaker box, whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side.
"whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side."
Many transfer switches which work with subpanels will allow one to mix energized circuits from either side of the panel.
Ah, interesting. I've not seen those. Thanks.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

Dontridetheindexdown wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:51 pm First, to all those who want a cheap, convenient way to charge their cell phones and other portable electronics: every motor vehicle includes a one kilowatt (1kw) alternator for battery charging.

Some vehicles are slightly less (a skinny kilowatt) others are quite a bit more (2kw) but all vehicles have a battery charging alternator.
To my knowledge, vehicle alternators' output is not rated for idling speed. If the vehicle is idling in your driveway, it's not going to be output close to its rated amperage. To my knowledge, most alternators only output 30-40 amps while idling, which is 360-480 watts given that it is a 12 volt system in the U.S. Hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius are a different animal.
Dontridetheindexdown wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:51 pmTakeaway - Generating your own power during an outage requires serious investment in time and money, and significant fuel and maintenance expenses.
I respectfully disagree. A person can use a small inverter connected to their idling vehicle to keep a few basics running during a power outage. Those with slightly greater needs can benefit from a small generator and extension cords. I know because we've done it and know many others who have as well. Backup power is something that can be about as simple or as complex as you want or your situation demands. Insinuating that if people aren't willing to invest serious time and money to have backup power does not help the average person, who has literally no means of backup power beyond a handful of non-rechargeable AA batteries.

Aside from that, I agree with the rest of your comments.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:15 pm
smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 11:06 am
willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:29 am
A440 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:07 am FWIW, regardless of what type of power source one uses, pulling our refrigerator out of its "nook" in our kitchen is a PITA. It is a tight fit between the cabinet panels and needs to be fully pulled out to access the plug. Additionally, it also has a water line for the ice maker and water dispenser that is susceptible to breaking or coming loose. Then, once power is restored, it is equally challenging to get it put back in place without the line breaking.
It is because of this challenge that we purchased a simple 4-circuit manual transfer switch. It wasn't very expensive, nor was the fee charged by a licensed electrician to install. It has been an unusual summer, but we have now used it three times since May. $1000 all in for 2k inverter generator/mts and install, money well spent and I don't keep my neighbors awake at night when I switch the generator to econ mode (12 hour run time on 1 gallon of gas).
Good for you. It's true that it can be a pain to pull refrigerators out enough to get access to the power cord. The same goes for other appliances too. If money isn't an issue, a transfer switch really is the best to get power from your generator to your house. Depending on how the house and transfer switch are wired, it might still be necessary to run extension cords from outlets which have power to items that don't. This isn't usually necessary with a generator that's providing 240 volt power as it can power both the sides of your breaker box, whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side.
"whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side."
Many transfer switches which work with subpanels will allow one to mix energized circuits from either side of the panel.
Ah, interesting. I've not seen those. Thanks.
It is not a common way to wire them as most of these switches are marketed for larger gensets that already have a 4 wire plug.
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:36 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:15 pm
smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 11:06 am
willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:29 am
A440 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:07 am FWIW, regardless of what type of power source one uses, pulling our refrigerator out of its "nook" in our kitchen is a PITA. It is a tight fit between the cabinet panels and needs to be fully pulled out to access the plug. Additionally, it also has a water line for the ice maker and water dispenser that is susceptible to breaking or coming loose. Then, once power is restored, it is equally challenging to get it put back in place without the line breaking.
It is because of this challenge that we purchased a simple 4-circuit manual transfer switch. It wasn't very expensive, nor was the fee charged by a licensed electrician to install. It has been an unusual summer, but we have now used it three times since May. $1000 all in for 2k inverter generator/mts and install, money well spent and I don't keep my neighbors awake at night when I switch the generator to econ mode (12 hour run time on 1 gallon of gas).
Good for you. It's true that it can be a pain to pull refrigerators out enough to get access to the power cord. The same goes for other appliances too. If money isn't an issue, a transfer switch really is the best to get power from your generator to your house. Depending on how the house and transfer switch are wired, it might still be necessary to run extension cords from outlets which have power to items that don't. This isn't usually necessary with a generator that's providing 240 volt power as it can power both the sides of your breaker box, whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side.
"whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side."
Many transfer switches which work with subpanels will allow one to mix energized circuits from either side of the panel.
Ah, interesting. I've not seen those. Thanks.
It is not a common way to wire them as most of these switches are marketed for larger gensets that already have a 4 wire plug.
I see. To be honest, if I was going to buy a transfer switch and pay an electrician to install it (despite being pretty handy, I'm not going to rewire my panel), I'd only do so if I had a generator with 240 volt output. But that's just me. We have prepared to live on 120 volt power in the event of a power outage. Taking sponge baths with water heated via propane and not drying our clothes in our dryer would be the only real sacrifices we'd have to make, and the expense and fuel needed for a larger generator just aren't worth it to us.

Your earlier point about larger generators having larger base fuel consumption rates is spot on. A Honda EU2200i will only consume .084 gallons per hour at a 25% load (it only consumes .066 gallons per hour at a straight idle). Compare that to a standard (i.e. not inverter) Honda 8,750 generator, which will consume .63 gallons per hour at a 25% load (about 1,750 watts, 25% of the 7,000 continuous watts it's rated for), which is about the slowest speed at which it can operate. That's 7.5 times more fuel consumed at idle. And if you aren't consuming 100% of those minimum 1,750 watts of power, which is well above what most American homes consume on average, you are wasting fuel, which can be a precious commodity in certain power outages.

IMHO, it's vital to know what loads you really need to run during a power outage and to size a generator capable of running those with a little extra capacity, no more than about 20%.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:52 pm
smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:36 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:15 pm
smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 11:06 am
willthrill81 wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:29 am

Good for you. It's true that it can be a pain to pull refrigerators out enough to get access to the power cord. The same goes for other appliances too. If money isn't an issue, a transfer switch really is the best to get power from your generator to your house. Depending on how the house and transfer switch are wired, it might still be necessary to run extension cords from outlets which have power to items that don't. This isn't usually necessary with a generator that's providing 240 volt power as it can power both the sides of your breaker box, whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side.
"whereas a 120 volt generator can only power one side."
Many transfer switches which work with subpanels will allow one to mix energized circuits from either side of the panel.
Ah, interesting. I've not seen those. Thanks.
It is not a common way to wire them as most of these switches are marketed for larger gensets that already have a 4 wire plug.
I see. To be honest, if I was going to buy a transfer switch and pay an electrician to install it (despite being pretty handy, I'm not going to rewire my panel), I'd only do so if I had a generator with 240 volt output. But that's just me. We have prepared to live on 120 volt power in the event of a power outage. Taking sponge baths with water heated via propane and not drying our clothes in our dryer would be the only real sacrifices we'd have to make, and the expense and fuel needed for a larger generator just aren't worth it to us.

Your earlier point about larger generators having larger base fuel consumption rates is spot on. A Honda EU2200i will only consume .084 gallons per hour at a 25% load (it only consumes .066 gallons per hour at a straight idle). Compare that to a standard (i.e. not inverter) Honda 8,750 generator, which will consume .63 gallons per hour at a 25% load (about 1,750 watts, 25% of the 7,000 continuous watts it's rated for), which is about the slowest speed at which it can operate. That's 7.5 times more fuel consumed at idle. And if you aren't consuming 100% of those minimum 1,750 watts of power, which is well above what most American homes consume on average, you are wasting fuel, which can be a precious commodity in certain power outages.

IMHO, it's vital to know what loads you really need to run during a power outage and to size a generator capable of running those with a little extra capacity, no more than about 20%.
"I see. To be honest, if I was going to buy a transfer switch and pay an electrician to install it (despite being pretty handy, I'm not going to rewire my panel), I'd only do so if I had a generator with 240 volt output."
If you were to purchase a 6 , 8, 10 place tranfer switch and have someone wire it for only 120 they could easily do that with a three wire system if your smaller genset had that output. The 'rewiring' will not be noticeably different if and when you would rewire it for a two pole breaker is that was needed. We do not need 220 to make heat and power (oil heat/domestic hot water) so our small 120 generator can supply all that we need iclduing heat and hot water with 6-8 120 breakers. The fact that many of these switches come with the ability to handle maybe one or two 220 breakers does not limit the ability to use them independently.
But if someone needs larger amounts of amps and/or 220 power then the plan would have to be different.

Fuel useage is relative to size or load if you have the ability to drop rpm or use a diesel genset.
- Our Yamaha 2800i genset uses about 1 gallon for 6-7 hours real run time.
- We had a fixed speed genset at 4000W that used 1 gallon in about 2 hours
- our diesel gensets would use approx. 0.1 gph for every 1KW produced
Now that our Yamaha is more than 12 years old and has much more than 2,000 hours on it the fuel difference alone vs the fixed speed gas generator has likley paid for the price of the genset. Diesel gensets would be much too large and expensive for our needs at home.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

So the YAMAHA EF2800I is 3 wire and 120 Volt; an electrician could install a transfer switch that works with it.
I don't see a wheel kit with handle.
It sounds like inverter generators like above run just hard enough to pull the load?
It sounds like I should talk to an electrician and figure out the transfer switch before buying a generator.
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dratkinson
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Vehicle alternator limits inverter's use.

Post by dratkinson »

Looked but didn't quickly find.

An inverter hooked to a vehicle battery is limited by the size of the vehicle's alternator. If you withdraw more current than the alternator can supply, then the battery is being discharged. Discharge the battery enough and it will not start the vehicle the next time.

Assuming a 60amp alternator, then the largest load that does not discharge the battery is 720w (= 60a x 12v).

That load, being powered by a 200hp engine, may not be the best use of a gallon of gas.

Don't know if it's recommended to run an alternator at max load for long.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

hudson wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 4:52 pm So the YAMAHA EF2800I is 3 wire and 120 Volt; an electrician could install a transfer switch that works with it.
I don't see a wheel kit with handle.
It sounds like inverter generators like above run just hard enough to pull the load?
It sounds like I should talk to an electrician and figure out the transfer switch before buying a generator.
"It sounds like I should talk to an electrician and figure out the transfer switch before buying a generator."
That would be a great method to use to plan ahead. Please have the loads that you want to handle ready for him/her so that he/she can provide inputs on what/where and how much you really need.
FWIW - the 12+ year old Yamaha EF2800i that we have has no wheels but has a full frame and is 64#, i move it rather easily but it can also be easily placed on a dolly. Any inverter genset throttles down to lower running speeds when they do not need the higher power ratings.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by linuxizer »

I have heard of hooking both + wires up to a 120V source in the 4-wire plugs. This should power both sides of the panel. Maybe not up to code- would have to talk to an electrician. My preference is for the 200A whole house switch (the GE example above) and for the whole panel to be available. You lose the nice watt meters of the 10-circuit type transfer switches but gain flexibility.

Note the parallel kits (at least Champion and Harbor Freight both do) can be run off a single genset and act as plug converters (including 4 prong options). Since they're intended for 120V gens, maybe they provide 120v down both legs and would allow the 4 pin house jack to be wired correctly so it would remain compatible with any future 240v genset.

N.B. Do not deviate from code here!
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

smitcat wrote: Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:13 pm
Please have the loads that you want to handle ready for him/her so that he/she can provide inputs on what/where and how much you really need.
FWIW - the 12+ year old Yamaha EF2800i that we have has no wheels but has a full frame and is 64#, i move it rather easily but it can also be easily placed on a dolly. Any inverter genset throttles down to lower running speeds when they do not need the higher power ratings.
Thanks smitcat!
It sounds like I need to do a breaker panel map. I need to have my plan ready before calling anyone.
Linuxizer, I plan to follow the code. I would like to have a 240V hookup as possible even if I have to get a bigger generator.
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